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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 15 4/12/2002

OHIO COURT OF APPEALS
<align=center>REJECTS BAN ON RIGHT TO CARRY

 

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals held that Ohio’s ban on carrying concealed firearms violates Article 1 of the state Constitution—a ruling that upholds a January 10 decision by Judge Robert P. Ruehlman. When announcing the unanimous decision, presiding Judge Mark P. Painter read from Article 1, stating, "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security." He followed by claiming, "We believe they [the state’s founding fathers] meant what they said."

Ohio is one of only six states that currently prohibits all law-abiding citizens from carrying concealed firearms for personal protection, and does not offer a clear exemption to this prohibition for civilians. And while the law in question has a provision that justifies a "prudent person in going armed," this provision is what is referred to as an "affirmative defense," and can be used only after an individual has been arrested and indicted. Judge Painter commented, "No Ohioan can exercise the constitutional right to bear arms, whether concealed or unconcealed, without risking jail….We know of no other situation where a citizen is guilty until proven innocent." Wednesday’s ruling also found the "prudent person" provision incomprehensible to the ordinary citizen, pointing out that even a seasoned law officer could not determine its true meaning, leaving the law open to arbitrary enforcement.

What this ruling will ultimately mean to law-abiding Ohioans remains to be seen, as the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI promises another appeal is in the works. This anti-gun extremist organization, through what it calls the "Brady Center’s Legal Action Project," has been assisting the defendants in the case—which includes Hamilton County, Cincinnati, and the state of Ohio—by acting as co-counsel. The next stop for this case should be the Ohio Supreme Court, and we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any new developments.

RECKLESS LAWSUIT PREEMPTION
<align=center>BILL GAINING SUPPORT IN THE HOUSE

 

H.R. 2037

—the bill introduced by U.S. Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) andChris John (D-La.) that would shield the firearm industry from politically-motivated lawsuits seeking to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products—continues to make headway in the U.S. House of Representatives. A hearing on H.R. 2037 has been scheduled for nextThursday,April 18, at 9:30 a.m. inroom 2322 of theRayburn House Office Building, and the bill now has 221 co-sponsors—three more than a straight majority of the House, which should help to ensure passage of this critical legislative remedy to the anti-gun lobby’s flagrant abuse of our legal system if the bill reaches the House floor.

But even the fact that the bill has 221 co-sponsors does not guarantee passage of this critical reform, so the more supporters we can enlist, the better the chance will be for this bill becoming law. The following eight House members are considered possible co-sponsors, and NRA members in their states are urged to contact them and request their support: Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.), Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), Dan Miller (R-Fla.), Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.), Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), and Jerry Weller (R-Ill.). To find contact information for these lawmakers, use our "Write Your Reps" tool.

And if you need another reason to contact these lawmakers, the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI is trying to counter NRA’s campaign promoting H.R. 2037. Shortly after NRA began targeting a handful of specific lawmakers as potential co-sponsors, the anti-gun extremists at HCI sent out their own e-mail alert targeting the very same lawmakers on NRA’s list. Their message is to "call your Representative today and urge them [sic] to oppose H.R. 2037." So far, six of the 18 Representatives on our target list have rejected the gun-ban lobby’s push, and have signed on to support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms by co-sponsoring H.R. 2037. Let’s keep adding to the loss column of the gun-ban lobby by urging the eight lawmakers listed above to co-sponsor H.R. 2037.

Finally, U.S. Senators Zell Miller (D-Ga.) and Larry Craig (R-Id.) are expected to introduce the Senate version of H.R. 2037 next week. Be sure to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to sign on as co-sponsors, once the bill is introduced. You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121, but to find additional contact information for them, use our "Write Your Reps" tool.

 

A LOOK AT THE STATES

CALIFORNIA:

AB 2222

, a measure that would mandate the regulation of large caliber target rifles chambered for .50 BMG cartridges, is slated to be heard before the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 16. This bill seeks to register .50 caliber BMG rifles and treat them like "assault weapons" by creating a permit system. For the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the Assembly Public Safety Committee members, check out our "Write your Reps" feature. For the full text of the bill, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov. In addition, anti-gun Senator Don Perata (D-Alameda) has just announced his intention to push yet another outrageous mandate. His latest anti-gun bill would add a 5 cents per bullet sales tax in order to fund uninsured victims of firearm crimes or accidents in California’s trauma centers. Senator Perata is seeking to bring this measure to the November ballot through a 2/3 vote of the Legislature. Because this is a proposed constitutional amendment, this measure will remain "alive" until the close of session in August. Please call your lawmakers and ask that they oppose SCA 12 when it comes before them for a vote.

ILLINOIS:

The Des Plaines City Council will soon consider a "Mayor Daley-style" proposal which, if passed, would require Des Plaines residents to surrender many of their lawfully-owned firearms to the police or face jail time. Also, residents would be prohibited from purchasing or possessing many popular calibers of sporting and hunting ammunition. Another provision would post the names and addresses of Des Plaines gun owners, along with an inventory of their guns, to an Internet-style database. It is critical that Des Plaines citizens attend the City Council meeting and voice their opposition to this onerous measure. The meeting will be held at7:00 p.m. onMonday, April 15, inCity Hall, located atNorthwest Highway andLee Street in downtown Des Plaines. If you are unable to attend this important meeting, please call your City Council Member at (847) 391-5300, and respectfully urge him to oppose this extreme anti-freedom measure.

 

INDIANA:

NRA-ILA is hosting a FREE Grassroots-Election Workshop in Fort Wayne, Ind., on April 20. At this Workshop you will learn what you can do in your own community to ensure pro-gun candidates are elected to office this election season. NRA members who are interested in attending should contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683 for details and to reserve their spots. NRA members who have access to the Internet can also reserve their spots on-line at www.nraila.org/workshops.asp?ID=FTWayne.

MARYLAND

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Maryland’s 2002 Legislative Session ended Monday at midnight, and no anti-gun legislation passed this year! But the work is not over just yet. HB 9, which extends Maryland’s deer hunting season to 21 days and includes limited Sunday hunting, is sitting on Governor Glendening’s (D) desk. Please call the Governor’s office at 410-974-3901 and ask him to sign HB9 into law. Also, call your Legislators to let them know you appreciate all their efforts to try to make this a productive legislative year. The Maryland General Assembly can be reached at 800-492-7122.

 

MASSACHUSETTS

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As gun owners and sportsmen are aware, your NRA-ILA and Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) have been working with the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety in an attempt to draft a bill that makes positive reforms to our gun laws. During the first week of April, a tentative agreement to release a modified version of the House Chairman’s bill, H.1087, was made. Out of the 43 sections of this bill, 37 were favorable to the rights of law-abiding gun owners. During negotiations, pro-gun groups and activists asked that a bill be released with the agreed upon 37 sections. For unknown reasons, the House Chairman has now decided not to do so. GOAL, along with your NRA-ILA, is now asking every citizen of the Commonwealth to call Speaker of the House Tom Finneran (D) and Senate President Thomas Birmingham (D) and ask them why the committee will not release H.1087, an agreeable bill that will make 37 corrections to the law without adding further restrictions. Please contact the Speaker’s office, as well as the Senate President’s office, on a daily basis to ask for updates. Every day that the legislature delays passing this bill, law-abiding firearm owners continue to be unfairly targeted under current laws.Speaker Finneran can be contacted at 617-722-2500.President Birmingham can be contacted at 617-722-1500.

 

MISSOURI:

Members of the Second Amendment Coalition of Missouri (SACMO), the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance (WMSA), and hundreds of law-abiding Missouri firearm owners, will gather at the State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City on Wednesday, April 17, 2002, from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. This is a great opportunity for pro-gun activists to meet and network with allies from all corners of the "Show Me State." Those in attendance will also be able to express their thanks to our many pro-freedom allies in the Missouri State Legislature for their dedication to preserving our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, as well as encourage their lawmakers to support the several pro-gun bills currently pending in Jefferson City. Please don’t miss this chance to prepare for the challenges and opportunities we will face in the near future! For more information, please contact Gil Pyles, the NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator (EVC) for Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District, at (314) 346-8629 or gil.pyles@att.net. You may also visit www.sacmo.org for more details and up-to-the-minute news!

VERMONT

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SB.0275

, the very weak sportsman bill dealing with the so-called "Champion Lands," originally passed the Senate in February and was amended and passed by the House last week by a vote of 90-47. This week the bill was designated for further action in a House/Senate conference committee. The members of the committee will be appointed in the coming days and should complete work on the bill by the end of this current legislative session. Please call your Legislators and ask them to support the strongest possible "Champion Lands" bill. The Senate can be reached at 802-828-2241, and the House at 802-828-2228.

 

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.